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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-16-2008, 06:52 AM
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Dreaded Pulley Squeal

To all,

I just experienced the dreaded pulley squeal in the early morning before going to work; sub 50 degree temps.

Here's a video just for reference:

) and that seemed to fix them so far. Been about 3 days without any early morning low-temp squeals.

I'll update this thread if there any more pulley squeal regressions.
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2008, 10:10 AM
josephi josephi is offline
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How much did it cost you? I recently had 2 pulleys and 3 belts replaced on my 2002 330i and the local stealer charged me over $800.
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2008, 10:53 AM
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Fortunately for me the private dealer I got it from did it for free. I would try to avoid stealerships unless it's under warranty.
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  #4  
Old 07-16-2008, 01:23 PM
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I thought it was the belt tensioner that causes the squeal...even my indy mechanic thought so too !!

Any thoughts, guys?
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  #5  
Old 07-16-2008, 01:28 PM
buhbyyy buhbyyy is offline
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It sounds like that's what he had replaced (more than likely) the belt tensioner and idler pulley. He mentioned two were replaced, and those are the common two.
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  #6  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:52 AM
Narcisse91 Narcisse91 is offline
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I would say "dreaded" is a bit dramatic...
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  #7  
Old 07-17-2008, 06:30 AM
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Sounds like you have a squirrel stuck in there. Try getting that out first, and then see if it still squeaks. It could be the squirrel fouling up your belts/pulleys. LOL
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  #8  
Old 07-17-2008, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcisse91 View Post
I would say "dreaded" is a bit dramatic...


Try listening to the noise in an indoor parking garage......it will drive people crazy. That's what I needed to do every day...

Is the noise louder in Winter? It seems like that to me.
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2008, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buhbyyy View Post
It sounds like that's what he had replaced (more than likely) the belt tensioner and idler pulley. He mentioned two were replaced, and those are the common two.
Thanks for confirming this!! These 2 parts are now on my repair list for the next trip to auto shop...
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  #10  
Old 07-17-2008, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradley01 View Post
Sounds like you have a squirrel stuck in there. Try getting that out first, and then see if it still squeaks. It could be the squirrel fouling up your belts/pulleys. LOL
Oh no, not the neighborhood squirrel. My son likes to watch him climb our tree up front and run around looking for food. Damn it, I told him not to use the engine as a warmer.
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  #11  
Old 07-17-2008, 11:03 AM
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BeRzErKaS BeRzErKaS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcisse91 View Post
I would say "dreaded" is a bit dramatic...

Oh, really? Here's what happens when you don't tend to it ASAP:




I had the "dreaded squeal" and ignored it all winter thinking I would change it as soon as the weather got nice.

Big Mistake.

The pulley failed. What you're looking at is the core of the pulley still securely bolted to the engine. The roller/bearings are completely gone and took my serpentine belt with it resulting in an embarassing tow truck ride home. Luckily there was no damage to the fan/radiator.

I found a post on e46fanatics where the same thing happened to someone else.
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  #12  
Old 07-17-2008, 01:40 PM
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Thanks for the picture, BeRzErKaS. This is really helpful!
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  #13  
Old 07-17-2008, 02:36 PM
buhbyyy buhbyyy is offline
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I have both pulleys ready to be replaced (just stalling to do the work).
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  #14  
Old 07-17-2008, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeRzErKaS View Post
Oh, really? Here's what happens when you don't tend to it ASAP:
Dayum! Mine has been making this squeal for a really long time, year or more. I guess I need to make a bigger stink about it, or just fix it myself.
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  #15  
Old 07-17-2008, 05:45 PM
jsonli jsonli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Dayum! Mine has been making this squeal for a really long time, year or more. I guess I need to make a bigger stink about it, or just fix it myself.
took me a few trips to the dealer to get them to reproduce it. i had to tell them explicitly, you have to be there right when the car is started, if you move the car from the storage lot to the service bay it will be gone by then.

that did the trick nicely - they had 2 techs there with the hood open right when it started.
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  #16  
Old 07-17-2008, 07:02 PM
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If you are lucky enough to still be in warranty this is definately the kind of thing I would demand to have addressed. I'm sort of surprised a service bulletin hasn't been issued about these squealing pullies. It certainly seems common enough.

The DIY is a piece of cake if your car is a 5spd. Just a few plastic clips, a couple of electrical connectors and everything lifts out of the way. Fan included.

Mine is an automatic with a mechanical engine fan. Figuring out how to unscrew the fan without the special tool was the hardest part but it came off pretty easy once I got something rigged up.

Bavarian Auto Recycling stocks the offending pulley for about 1/2 the dealer price. Or they can be found on ebay even cheaper.

DO NOT pay the dealer $800 bucks for this service! Total RIP.

You can do this job yourself for less than $75 bucks in parts including a fresh set of belts.
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  #17  
Old 07-18-2008, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeRzErKaS View Post
If you are lucky enough to still be in warranty this is definately the kind of thing I would demand to have addressed. I'm sort of surprised a service bulletin hasn't been issued about these squealing pullies. It certainly seems common enough.

The DIY is a piece of cake if your car is a 5spd. Just a few plastic clips, a couple of electrical connectors and everything lifts out of the way. Fan included.

Mine is an automatic with a mechanical engine fan. Figuring out how to unscrew the fan without the special tool was the hardest part but it came off pretty easy once I got something rigged up.

Bavarian Auto Recycling stocks the offending pulley for about 1/2 the dealer price. Or they can be found on ebay even cheaper.

DO NOT pay the dealer $800 bucks for this service! Total RIP.

You can do this job yourself for less than $75 bucks in parts including a fresh set of belts.
I found this on e46fanatics.com for the TSB that was done on somebody's E46 3-series. I don't remember but I think the original link was either from another thread on this forum or bimmerforums.com.

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...74&postcount=9
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  #18  
Old 03-04-2009, 08:34 AM
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9 months later and no pulley squeals. Woo hoo!
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  #19  
Old 03-04-2009, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josephi View Post
How much did it cost you? I recently had 2 pulleys and 3 belts replaced on my 2002 330i and the local stealer charged me over $800.
That is awesome considering your car only has two belts! Surely the bill for $800 came with vaseline and a valetine. If you paid that bill, I have some swamp land in Arizona for sale......
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  #20  
Old 09-02-2012, 11:08 PM
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Part #s for the pulleys replaced:
Deflection pulley- 11281748130 http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...90&hg=11&fg=18 #15 in the diagram

Adjusting pulley- 11281748131 http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...90&hg=11&fg=18 #6 in the diagram

IMPORTANT NOTE: These pulleys go out every 60k-70k miles so best to check them around this mileage to see if the bearings are still okay and don't have any play or grinding. If they do, replace em.

Mods- PLEASE STICKY THIS SO WE DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER ALL THE IDLER PULLEY SQUEAL ISSUES EVERYTIME WINTER COMES UP! Thanks!

Last edited by av98; 09-03-2012 at 03:28 AM.
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  #21  
Old 09-11-2012, 09:25 AM
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4 years later and 6 months after my 2nd pair of new pulleys- no squeals.
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  #22  
Old 09-11-2012, 06:04 PM
HarryR325i HarryR325i is offline
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this is something I've lived with for 10 years. I had the mechanical tensioner replaced with a hydraulic tensioner and the noise never went away. I only hear it on first time cold weather start ups for 10 to 20 seconds before it goes away.
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